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Sustainable Building Design

Learn and explore key scientific principles, technologies, and analysis techniques for designing comfortable indoor environments while reducing energy use and associated climate change effects.

Sustainable Building Design
This course is archived
Estimated 13 weeks
8–10 hours per week
Instructor-paced
Instructor-led on a course schedule
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Meeting growing global energy demand, while mitigating climate change and environmental impacts, requires a large-scale transition to clean, sustainable energy systems. Students and professionals around the world must prepare for careers in this future energy landscape, gaining relevant skills and knowledge to expedite the transformation in industry, government and nongovernmental organizations, academia, and nonprofits.

The building sector represents a large percentage of overall energy consumption, and contributes 40% of the carbon emissions driving climate change. Yet buildings also offer opportunities for substantial, economical energy efficiency gains. From retrofit projects to new construction, buildings require a context-specific design process that integrates efficiency strategies and technologies.

In this course, you'll be introduced to a range of technologies and analysis techniques for designing comfortable, resource-efficient buildings.

The primary focus of this course is the study of the thermal and luminous behavior of buildings. You'll examine the basic scientific principles underlying these phenomena, and use computer-aided design software and climate data to explore the role light and energy can play in shaping architecture.

These efficiency design elements are critical to the larger challenge of producing energy for a growing population while reducing carbon emissions.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Architecture
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • Strong English language skills
    • Ability to perform basic mathematical operations
    • Undergraduate study of architecture, physics, environmental science, sustainability, and/or engineering helpful
    • Some experience with computer-aided design helpful
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Understand the scientific principles underlying the thermal and luminous behavior of buildings
  • Learn to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of a range of technologies for creating comfortable indoor environments

Week 1 - Energy Use in Buildings

  • Course Introduction
  • Assignment: Energy Benchmarking

Week 2 - Understanding Climate

  • Solar Radiation
  • Wind, Temperature, and Relative Humidity
  • Assignment: Direct Shading

Week 3 - Designing with Climate

  • Thermal Comfort
  • Assignment: Thermal Comfort

Week 4 - Daylighting

  • Active Solar
  • Light and Human Vision
  • Assignment: PV Study

Week 5 - Daylight Simulations

    • Daylight Simulations and Availability Metrics
  • Material Surfaces
  • Assignment: Daylight Availability

Week 6 - Electric Lighting

  • Visual Comfort
  • Electric Lighting and Occupant Behavior
  • Assignment: Glare and Electric Lighting

Week 7 - Heat Flow

  • Thermal Mass and Heat Flow
  • Insulation Materials and Window Technologies
  • Assignment: Thermal Mass

Week 8 - Thermal Loads

  • Shading and Integrated Façade Design
  • Ventilation
  • Assignment: Natural Ventilation

Week 9 - Thermal Simulations

  • Internal Gains and Load Calculations
  • Assignment: Internal Gains

Week 10 - Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation (HVAC)

  • HVAC for Small Buildings
  • HVAC for Large Buildings

Weeks 11 - 12 Designing a Sustainable Building

    • Assignment: Final project: Designing a Sustainable Building

Week 13 - Grading Final Project

  • Peer review final design projects

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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